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Teacher granted leave to serve as state education group head

7/25/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Pam Lifke

Rebecca Higgins, a first-grade teacher at Herberich Primary School, has been granted a three-year leave of absence to fulfill her obligation as president of the Ohio Education Association (OEA).

The Copley-Fairlawn City Schools Board of Education voted at the July 16 meeting to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the OEA for the leave of absence. Higgins was elected in May to a three-year term as president of the organization, which represents 121,000 teachers and education support personnel in Ohio public schools, colleges and universities, according to an OEA press release.

Higgins formerly served as president of the Copley Teachers Association and as president and representative to the board of directors for the Northeastern Ohio Education. Higgins’ leave of absence is effective beginning with the 2013-14 school year.

The board also accepted a donation of a pole building whose estimated value is $20,000 to $30,000 from the Copley Athletic Association. The building, located at Arrowhead Primary School, has been used to store athletic equipment, said Treasurer John Wheadon.

The board approved several service contracts in preparation for the new school year, including contracts with the Blick Clinic for alternative education programs, occupational and physical therapy and speech/language services; North Coast Therapy Associates for occupational and physical therapy; Education Alternatives for educational and therapeutic services; and The University of Akron (UA) for literacy coaching services.

Santina Narduzzi, a Copley-Fairlawn Middle School (CFMS) teacher, was recalled from the reduction in force list, as were tutors Deborah Hermann and Megan Kalil. The board also agreed to hire, pending employment testing and background checks, Kimberly Carothers as a language arts teacher, Corbin Mathias as a German language teacher and Katherine Walters as a guidance counselor.

In other action, the board:

  • approved a one-year facilities lease agreement with UA for evening classes, effective July 16;
  • approved the eighth-grade class trip to Washington, D.C., May 28-30;
  • accepted resignations of tutors Kimberly Carothers and Kaitlin Gibson and Chinese language teacher Pingfen Sung;
  • granted unpaid parental leave to Jill Jones, a CFMS math teacher, effective Aug. 21 through Jan. 21;
  • hired classified employees Christopher Miller, part-time transporter; Maria Spangler, classroom assistant; and Johnnie Legrair III, custodian;
  • hired substitute certified and classified employees for the 2013-14 school year;
  • hired Adam Marquette as CFMS seventh-grade volleyball coach; and
  • approved disability retirement for Linda Parker, CFMS tutor.

The next board meeting is set for Aug. 20 at 7 p.m. at Copley High School, 3797 Ridgewood Road.

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